Monday, August 1, 2011

Well, That Didn't Go Well

So, I decided to introduce this blog as a comment on a Facebook friend's wall status complaining about the Tea Party. Here's what I wrote and a sample of the comments after (to be fair, I should point out that most of the comments came from one person):

MY POST: FWIW, i've started a new blog that tries to explain the center-right point of view to folks who don't share those opinions, if anyone wants to stop by. I'm hoping to generate light rather than heat. it's at www.centerrightside.blogsp​ if you're interested

COMMENT: Center right? Apologists for corporate whorescenter right?

COMMENT: Silent on the issue (and therefore complicit with) the firebombing of Planned Parenthood clinics

COMMENT: what imagines itself as center right is brainless Reaganomics delusion -- not a fresh idea in their heads. They ignore the fact of corporate welfare, think corporations make profit fairly, and think trickle-down works. They are, in fact, smug upperclass idiots.

COMMENT:You deserve blistering invective and unwavering contempt. Every single piece of foolishness you people come out with is the same old crap and the same bs that got us into this sinkhole to begin with. i've lived with this regime most of my life, and i despise the right.

COMMENT:The right is composed of liars and thieves, led by the likes of George Bush, his daddy, and Ronald Reagan.

ME: Wow, guess minds are pretty closed here! Won't argue with people who mistake insult for debate.

COMMENT: Keep your smug piety. 300 teachers in Buffalo have just been cut b/c of the right. Go to hell

COMMENT: Only a damn fool would still be considering that the right has anything of real value to offer our country.

Shortly after this someone posted a comment about how my original post was a bit insulting because it implied people who didn't agree with my point of view were "unenlightened hotheads" rather than informed citizens (I paraphrase). Okay, fair point...up to a point. I certainly didn't mean to imply an insult. I was sincerely trying to offer explanations for a point of view that was being treated with snark and insult.

Shortly after that post about my implied insult, the thread was pulled. (I'd copied the above comments before it shut down.)

I realize policy debates can trigger passion. But this thread of comments was unsettling. I'm sure those commenters all think of themselves as liberal -- open-minded -- folks. Yet they were resolutely closed to my point of view, believing they understood it and could therefore reject it with no further discussion. With, in fact, insult.

I don't think it's unreasonable, though, to assume that if you reconfigured the above comments to be complaints against the left from the right (to get a flavor of this, go back and read the one that begins "You deserve blistering invective..." and imagine it directed at the left), these commenters would have been outraged to hear their points of view distorted and mischaracterized.

This little exercise seems to affirm a point I made in my welcome message, or at least a variation on it -- that is, if you're relying mostly on sources that only affirm your point of view, you're going to get paranoid when you discover, to your shock, that a lot of people don't hold those same views. It might even cause you to get...nasty.

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